Posted on 26 June 2012 by Priyanka Shrestha
The UK’s largest fuel cell facility is set to be built to help power a chemical plant in Essex. The facility has also been planned in an effort to generate clean energy for the county.
The project is a joint venture between power company AFC Energy and Industrial Chemicals Limited (ICL) and is expected to produce 1MWe of electrical energy, enough to power 500 homes. This will help the plant in Essex to manufacture chlorine and caustic soda, which is used in products like detergents, household cleaning products and water treatment.
The fuel-cell is expected to help ICL reduce its dependence on grid electricity by making use of hydrogen that would typically be discharged into the atmosphere.
Ian Williamson, CEO of AFC Energy said: “The UK and Europe are lagging behind the USA and Korea in their support for base load power from fuel cell technology. This clean energy opportunity would enable a European technology to demonstrate cost effectiveness compared with other forms of power generation.”
The fuel cell industry is expected to create 500,000 jobs globally over the next decade.
Posted on 20 June 2012 by Priyanka Shrestha
About 180 workers at the Coryton refinery will be made redundant next week, its administrators announced. The news comes after PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) failed to find a buyer for the Essex site earlier this year.
Swiss owner Petroplus held a meeting earlier this week with the employees and the Unite union at Coryton to explain their plans about the redundancy.
PwC said they are working with various parties who have shown interest in buying the site, however, it is not likely to be sold as a refinery.
Unite’s National Officer, Linda McCulloch said: “We believe that state aid should be forthcoming in the short term to tide over the plant until a viable buyer can be found. PwC have moved too fast in announcing the job losses.
“It is very disappointing that this key refinery faces closure and is devastating to the 850 workers threatened with the loss of their jobs and also to the wider local economy.”
When ELN questioned if the bid made by a former Russian Minister was ruled out, both DECC and PricewaterhouseCoopers failed to comment.
Posted on 15 June 2012 by Priyanka Shrestha
The UK Government has decided not to provide support for the Coryton refinery with nearly 1000 workers being “kicked in the teeth.”
The Government announced it won’t be applying for state aid from the European Commission after the refinery’s administrators failed to find a buyer for the site.
A Government spokesperson said: “We have come to the conclusion that the existing overcapacity in the refining industry and declining demand for petrol mean that it would not be sustainable.
“If Government did step in to help Coryton, this would be a short-term fix and it could potentially lead to job losses at other refineries who would be at an unfair disadvantage to Coryton.”
However, the Unite union claims the decision was a kick in the teeth to workers. Tony Burke, the Assistant General Secretary said the Government is operating double standards.
He said: “If Coryton had been a bank, you can be sure that ministers would have stepped in with financial assistance immediately.
“This Government operates double standards – they fawn before the financial elite that have brought the economy to its knees, but adopt a hard and heartless stance to working people and the local economy in the Thames estuary.”
Mr Burke suggested the Government should take a short-term measure until a new owner can be found to take over the refinery.
The news comes four days after Coryton workers and the local people in Essex protested against the closure of the refinery.
Posted on 11 June 2012 by Priyanka Shrestha
Coryton workers unveiled a RIP wreath at a protest today against the closure of the refinery.
The wreath made by a local florist in the Essex town of Corringham summed up the sombre mood.
Labour MEP Richard Howitt, (pictured right), who has helped campaign against the shutdown, joined the protest this morning.
He tweeted: “Colours on wreath are blue for determination and yellow for a future – sums up mood at today’s Coryton protest.”
About 100 workers gathered outside the refinery in Essex at 6AM, later heading into the town centre. They handed leaflets to businesses highlighting the impact of the closure to the wider economy.
A spokesperson for trade union Unite said: “The Coryton refinery provides 20% of the fuel in the country with a part of it going to major airports like Gatwick and Heathrow…Potentially £100 million could be taken out of the national economy.”
He said suggestions have been made about changing the refinery into a storage facility rather than shutting it down completely.
Swiss owner, Petroplus, put the refinery into administration in February but its administrators, Pricewaterhouse Coopers were unable to find a buyer for the site.
Posted on 02 June 2012 by Sumit Bose
ELN visits Coryton and hears how those facing redundancy feel
Posted on 28 May 2012 by Tom Gibson
The Essex refinery at Coryton is about to close with administrators expecting a “substantial number of redundancies” from the 500 strong workforce over the next few months. Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers spoke to over 100 possible investors and purchasers but were unable to reach a deal.
The Coryton plant in Essex was put into administration in February by its Swiss owner Petroplus. PwC said the site would be closed down over the next three months after the challenge of raising the £625 million needed to fund the refinery proved too hard.
Steven Pearson, Joint Administrator with PwC said: “The current financing market is exceptionally difficult – capital is short and expensive. Prospective investors in the refinery faced a significant capital expenditure need, as well as a fragile market for refined oil products. These factors have conspired against us in trying to structure a deal.”
The plant produces about 175,000 barrels of crude oil per day and supplies 20% of fuel in London and the South East. Many have voiced concern that the closure of the plant would impact the local area with shortages.
A DECC spokesperson said: “We want to reassure people that there will not be any impact on fuel supply from this development. Continuing jetty operations at Coryton means that there should be no loss of supply through the terminal to London and the South East.”
Posted on 27 February 2012 by Tom Gibson
A fire that broke out at npower’s Tilbury biomass plant this morning is still burning but is “under control” according to Essex Fire Service. Firefighters are still battling the fire with foam and expect to do so for another three to four hours. There were up 120 firefighters at the scene earlier in the day.
Adam Eckley, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at Essex Fire Service said their tactics were having a good effect: “We are making steady progress and if that continues crews will be on top of the incident quite quickly.”
The fire service is still unsure of the cause of the fire, which broke out in a storage area containing around 4,000 tonnes of fuel. Operations were said to be challenging because of the location of the fire high up in the main structure of the building, making it difficult for fire crews to reach it.
Posted on 16 February 2012 by Tom Gibson
The Coryton oil refinery in Essex has signed a three month agreement with three firms to keep it operational. The plant’s owners Petrolplus filed for insolvency last month, which threatened the future of one of the south east’s largest fuel suppliers.
The administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said in a statement: “This arrangement allows the refinery to continue to operate as usual whilst the feasibility of a permanent solution for the refinery is explored.”
Morgan Stanley Capital Group, KKR Asset Management, LLC and AtlasInvest will work together to keep the plant going while re-financing options are explored.
Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: “This is excellent progress for Coryton refinery. It provides the business and its employees with a period of stability, keeps the facility operational and gives the administrators time to work on a long term solution for the site.”
Posted on 09 February 2012 by Vicky Ellis
The survival of Coryton oil refinery in Essex looked more secure today after Energy Minister Charles Hendry said there are still “strong levels of interest” from buyers.
Coryton’s future was thrown into doubt after its parent company filed for insolvency last month.
Today after a third meeting of interested parties was attended by local politicians, unions and regulators, the Minister said: “The strong levels of interest in investing in Coryton reaffirm our belief that there is every chance that a sustainable long-term commercial solution can be found.
“I want to emphasise my ongoing appreciation for the collaborative approach taken by the Unions, the refinery’s management, the administrator and others involved.”
Posted on 06 February 2012 by Vicky Ellis
A new oil tanker is making its way to the Coryton oil refinery in Essex. The refinery’s future was cast into doubt when owners Petroplus filed for insolvency at the end of January.Coryton’s administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said the new oil will keep the plant in action while potential buyers are considered.
Steven Pearson, joint administrator and PwC partner said: “An oil tanker is now heading towards Coryton and will replenish crude stocks refined over the last 11 days. This purchase means we are able to continue refining operations whilst we seek to conclude discussions and negotiations with parties looking to continue refining at Coryton in the immediate term.”
At least 40 parties have expressed an interest in the Coryton refinery, according to Energy Minister Charles Hendry.